Mandala is roughly translated as “Circle” from Sanskrit. A Mandala is much more than that. In Tantra, Mandalas are subtle essences of what we see in our day-to-day lives. Our lives progress as Mandalas – we always return to the source, from whence we came.
We start at the beginning and go, as is said, Full Circle and return, as it were, to the point of our origin. Wise men have said that mandalas are mystical circles, full of the power of awakening the consciousness and have much deeper uses.
We, as ordinary people who are trying to live life organically, in a yogic way, use these incredibly powerful tools to help us make sense of our lives. Mandalas are (as we google them) beautiful works of art, with colour and patterns in repetitive swirls. This has a pleasing effect on the psyche.
After going through a particular rough couple of weeks, and before that, a rough few months, I was feeling pretty defeated – nothing was working, I was unable to find the drive to get up and do any work, and I was wasting even more time trolling the interwebs, when, lo and behold! I stumbled upon some stunning representations of Mandalas. The shapes, the colours, the beauty in each one drew me deeper and deeper into their secret world.
I fancy myself an artist, and decided that I wanted to make designs for a mandala of my own making. I realised that in my case, what I needed was not beauty, but something I could more identify with at the moment – words and ideas. I got out my pencils and my compass, and my book and decided that I would draw concentric circles and see what came of it. This picture (below) may only be one part of what I did in the one hour and a half, but it gave me great solace. It captured all that I needed. This is what I did:
I scanned myself very quickly from the point of view of my 7 chakras[i] (- a process like a concentration/meditative practice). I identified 3 words that meant something to me at each centre. I proceeded to colour each concentric circle with the specific colour of the chakra. Then I wrote the 3 words in order in 3 concentric rings. The words acted as focal points for my awareness to rest in. I absorbed each word and lived every word in that moment.
This last part really spoke to me and I decided in that moment to surrender to the process that was unfolding within me. This whole exercise did many things for me – it made me see the positives in my life while at the same time helped me to identify what I needed to work on. It made me feel stronger and I slept better than I had in weeks. I even woke up much more refreshed. It helped me articulate myself better and I was able to talk about things that I was terrified to talk about. The doubts are not gone, neither is the fear, but I think I feel stronger just focusing on the positives. It also gave me direction, which I was lacking. I feel stronger, lighter and truthfully, much better.
We would love it if you can use this technique to help you and write back to let us know how this mystic mandala meditation helped you!
- Each centre/chakra is identified by certain characteristics. The lowermost, Mooladhara is the instinctive, lower self. It is the seat of potential. It is also identified with the element Earth and embodies the qualities of the earth element.
- The sacral or Swadhisthana acts as the storehouse of your memories. It is also identified with the element water and has the fluidity and adaptability of the element.
- The solar plexus or Manipura is the fire centre and the centre for will power, determination and corresponds in the physical body to where the digestive system is.
- The heart centre is the seat for the element air and is called Anahata (the centre of Unstruck Sound). It has the qualities of love for our close family and friends, but also is capable of universal love.
- The next centre above is Vishuddhi, the ethereal centre. It has the expansive qualities of space and also is the centre for purification. It also corresponds to the vocal chords and is also known as the centre for speech. Measured words, beautiful voice and the ability to move people with voice and words comes from this centre.
- Ajna or the Command Centre is the next higher centre. It exists beyond space and time and is your connection to your higher self, the Universal consciousness, the higher power than your individual self. Here, we have the ability to awaken a sense of universal belonging and feeling.
- The Sahasrara, while not really a Chakra is your expression of your higher self. For this, I took the first shloka from the Ishavasya Upanishad, which at this moment is truly expressive of everything for me. This is how it is translated “That is whole, this is whole, from the wholeness comes the whole. If the whole is taken away from the whole, only the whole remains.”